The novel, Jasper Jones written by Craig Silvey, is a coming of age story set in the 1960s in an ancient, small town named Corrigan. The film diminishes the audience’s understanding of Charlie’s growing masculinity and his understanding of the morality of Corrigan’s ideals. The aesthetic features position the audience to view and to understand Charlie’s values, attitudes and beliefs on life as he grows and matures.
Charlie’s thoughts and ideas are a crucial feature in character development within Charlie’s life and is detracted in the film when compared to the original novel.
As the novel progresses Charlie begins to evolve into a mature adolescent. Jaspers influence on Charlie whether it was from having his first swig of alcohol or changing and broadening his perspective on moral cod, Charlies masculinity is heavily influenced by Jaspers bravado. This is evident when he climbs out of his window and puts on his “pansy sandals”, something which is not referred to in the film where it is only merely shown in the background.
Charlie’s deep concern with his masculinity is threatened through his “display of girlishness” (Page 5) as his sandals can be seen as non-masculine; therefore, Charlie wants to gain the same level of masculinity as Jasper is bare foot. The effect Jasper has on Charlie is clear as he states, “so I jog back with as much masculinity as I can muster,” seeing himself as inferior to Jasper. The audience is positioned through the film to observe Charlies actions rather than his personal opinions.
It depreciated Charlie’s judgments and the audience is blinded to recognize his masculinity growth. The novel depicts the empowering effect of Jasper’s words towards Charlie where he says, “you’ve got to be brave.” Charlie uses this to learn and grow in Jasper’s figure to be more self-reliant and fearless. He also learns masculine qualities from his friendship with Jasper and begins to believe in his capabilities and says, “I’ve got to be brave.” The film skips this scene which detracts from the bildungsroman metanarrative, evident within the novel and ignores the importance of Charlie’s coming of age story.
The film continues to diminish the audience’s view and understanding of Charlie’s aversion as he discovers Corrigan’s bigotry, fundamentally diminishing the bildungsroman metanarrative from the novel. The film limits the understanding of Charlie’s belief system and does not manifest his emotions and thoughts about the small-minded town. After Sue Findlay attacks Mrs. Lu with hot water, Charlie does not believe Sue’s son that’s being drafted is justification, saying “that doesn’t make it right· that’s got nothing to do with Mrs Lu! It’s not fair!” Through the novel, is it intensified how petulant Charlie is detected through the punctuation as he expresses his feelings and opinion about the situation and how racist Corrigan is. The film lacks to portray this scene which detracts the audiences’ understanding of how the town is very discriminatory towards other cultures. Charlie creates strong judgements of the town through their derogatory language and racial slurs. After Jeffery’s first ever cricket win “because Jeffery Lu was a hero today and when he got to the top they dragged him back to the bottom, they showered him with shit.” While An Lu’s garden got attacked, they blame Jeffery’s dad by saying “He’s involved! He’s a red! f**king rat!· He probably killed that young girl,” referencing the Vietnam war and symbolising the colour red and communism. The film undervalues Charlie’s thinking and conceptions, displaying to the audience which diminishes his values, beliefs and attitude towards racism. Overall, the film doesn’t express Charlie’s coming of age story as accurately or well as it in the novel.
Jasper Jones, a coming of age story effectively displaying the detraction the film has on the audiences understanding of Charlie’s masculinity growth and Corrigan’s narrow mindedness. The novel employs aesthetic feature which assists audiences to understand Charlies attitudes, values and beliefs. On the other hand, the film lacks these important details that creates Charlies character and displays the bildungsroman effect.